European markets were slightly higher on Wednesday morning, as investors monitored inflation data and looked ahead to the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose by just 0.1% in early deals, with travel and leisure stocks leading the gains.
Market participants were closely monitoring economic data. U.K. inflation data for July showed an unexpected dip to 2% on Wednesday morning. Economists noted that it was likely a blip with data projected to keep trending higher in the coming months. Euro area inflation rate figures for last month are expected later in the session.
Shares in Asia-Pacific were higher on Wednesday. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand kept interest rates unchanged despite expectations of a hike. The bank announced Wednesday that it would keep its monetary settings unchanged, leaving the official cash rate at 0.25%. Analysts had expected that New Zealand could be the first advanced economy in Asia-Pacific to raise interest rates in the pandemic era of easy monetary policy.
On Wall Street, Dow futures slipped slightly in overnight trading after the 30-stock average snapped a 5-day winning streak in the regular session.
The Federal Open Market Committee publishes its meeting minutes from its July meeting on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET. Market participants will be looking for clues about the central bank’s stance on inflation and when it could suspend its bond buying program.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic and spread of the highly transmissible delta Covid-19 variant has rattled market confidence. Investors are also monitoring the potential geopolitical implications following the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan.
In individual stocks news, Carlsberg shares rose 2% after the Danish brewer raised its full-year earnings guidance on Wednesday.